[Athen] In the NEWS - DOJ and web accessibility rule-making

Laurie Vasquez vasquez at sbcc.edu
Tue May 3 12:56:40 PDT 2016

​*Statement Regarding Rulemaking on Accessibility of Web *
*Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities*

April 29, 2016

Rulemaking addressing Web accessibility requirements is a high priority for
the Department. The increasingly interconnected and dynamic nature of Web
sites allows for easy and convenient access to the programs, services, and
activities of public entities covered by the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA). Yet, individuals with disabilities are often denied equal
access to the services, programs, and activities of State and local
governments because many public entities’ Web sites are inaccessible.
Public entities have also expressed the need for accessibility standards to
help them meet their responsibility to provide equal access. The Department
believes that adopting technical standards clarifying how to make a Web
site accessible is crucial to achieving the ADA’s mandate.

On April 28, 2016, the Department of Justice (the Department) withdrew its
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled *Nondiscrimination on the Basis
of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and
Local Government Entities* (RIN 1190-AA65), which was submitted to the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review pursuant to Executive
Order 12866 on July 9, 2014. Contemporaneously, the Department is issuing
a Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SANPRM) titled
on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services
of State and Local Government Entities*

Through the SANPRM, the Department intends to solicit additional public
comment on various issues to help the Department shape and further its
rulemaking efforts. Since the Department issued its 2010 ANPRM on Web
accessibility, the Internet, accessibility tools, and assistive
technologies have evolved. They have become more available, less
expensive, and more widely used. The Department expects that, in addition
to being more current, the public comments on the SANPRM will be more
detailed and focused than those received in response to its original 2010

For example, the Department seeks more specific information relating to the
potential application of technical accessibility requirements to the Web
sites of public entities under title II of ADA. The Department also seeks
information on the appropriateness of setting alternative requirements for
small public entities. Moreover, the Department seeks precise information
on the costs and benefits of Web accessibility that will aid in its
preparation of a regulatory impact analysis.

Additionally, while the Department is already aware of many benefits of
adopting technical standards for Web accessibility, the Department hopes to
obtain more information about specific benefits, including benefits to
persons with particular types of disabilities, and input on how to measure
the benefits of Web accessibility. The Department also seeks to gather
more information about the current level of accessibility of public
entities’ Web sites, including the experiences of people with disabilities
accessing public entities’ Web sites. In addition, the Department asks for
specific data on the costs of Web accessibility and for suggestions about
how to measure those costs.

In addition to the SANPRM, the Department intends to conduct research and
studies as necessary to better understand the benefits and costs of a Web
accessibility regulation. The Department intends to use the information
gathered from the public, its research, and the studies to inform and
advance the Department’s rulemaking efforts. Web accessibility continues
to remain a critical component of public entities’ obligation to provide
equal access to their programs, services, and activities under the ADA.

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